The Barnett River was discovered by the ubiquitous Frank Hann on 28 July 1898 while he was exploring for new pastoral country. More here.
“… the river (which I have called the Barnett, after Mr Barnett of the Lennard) runs along the base of a huge mountain.”
Alfred H. Barnett (1857-1916) spent his early working years farming in Northam and Beverley. He went to the Kimberley in 1882 and managed Meda Station for the Meda River Pastoral Company for eight years. In 1890 the property was sold to the Emanuel Bros and Barnett accepted the management of Balmaningarra Station, on the Lennard River, that was owned by M.C. Davies and McLean. He remained there until 1905.
During the floods of 1895 he saved a number of lives, including two white men and a number of aborigines. Barnett was well liked by the local aborigines. He could speak their language and attended their corroborees.
Barnett left the Kimberley in 1905 and retired to a small mixed farm at Serpentine.
The Barnett Range between the Hann and Barnett Rivers and Mount Barnett at the south west end of the Range were also named after him.